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Urban Archaeology


Several months ago Parisians discovered an apartment whose owner-occupants fled when the Nazis occupied the city. They simply locked the doors and left. Why they never returned I can’t recall, but the apartment became a time capsule waiting rediscovery. Imagine the surprised expressions when opening those doors locked for seventy years.

paris apt 1 paris apt 2

I’ve imagined places like this, but they’re the homes of hoarders in Vladivostok. On a far smaller and local scale this could also be a context for the Adolf Loos story line mentioned earlier.

Latter-day Howard Carter

Beneath the headline “Time Capsule” and sandwiched between a column of sports scores and an advert for Cermak’s Market, the following column filler appeared on page four of Agincourt’s Daily Plantagenet for Sunday, August 2nd, 1942:

A hidden room has been found while re-roofing Krohn’s Barber Shop on north Broad Street. Unseen from the alley, the room has been shut up for fifty years.

Measuring the roof, the building was almost twenty feet longer than the sum of interior dimensions. A door at the back of a disused closet revealed the room and its dusty contents. Bedroom and lounge furnishings suggest someone had lived there.

Books and newspapers from 1895 hint at a German occupant. Owner-barber Jack Marshall was mystified but promised to ask his father-in-law Hermann Krohn, who opened his shop in the 90s but retired several years ago. Krohn, 88, lives with a daughter in Omaha. Marshall promises to ask next weekend.

Is this too thin a beginning?

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